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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Who defines a country person?
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Over the hill.    Posted 11-16-2003 at 20:56:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was born the youngest of five boys, in 1943, in a very unique place in Michigan. It is unknown for the most part, for that I begrudgly have to be thankful. I say begrudgly, because I have always liked people, and have always wanted to be inclusive. Hard experience, always drives me towards being exclusive. I hate that truth.
In 1961 I was one of three boys out of my high school class of over a hundred students who went farming, only two of us are still farming. All the rest of the students went off to non-farm employement. I have always hated that truth.
I believe that this is the main reason that farming has gone the way it has. I say this even in the face of all the high-tech invasion that has destroyed a way of life that began with the victory at Yorktown. The big money moved in because a vacuum developed after my generation went of the the city.
People will argue that they went to gain a better life and not everybody wants to farm. I retort, that it should be so that, if you want to farm, it should be possible. It never gets anywhere.
In high school,I had a low opinion of my school options, and did not try as hard as I should. It was different in those days. But, I was well aware of the fact that I was extremely more educated than those (mainly town kids) who called us plowboys, hicks, and farmer. I knew that these poor uneducated bozos considered it an insult and considered themselves higher class because they were from town or hung around with the town crowd. It was with great surrealism that we FFA boys stood up at the 20th class reunion and took a bow after the shock of the 1973 inflation occured. They had realized that the name farmer had ramifications beyond their comprehension.
Now to the point, Pa and Ma Kettle.
I grew up with people who like me, hoed beans at the age of four, drove tractors at six, dehorned 1100 pound steers by nine, overhauled tractors by ten, repaired barn roofs by eleven and figured income tax at fourteen. I witness the embarresment of these people when they saw and believed they were seen like Pa and Ma Kettle. I had many of them say to me, they were going to the city because they didn't want to live the rest of their life in such a distortion.
I have found that if there ever was anything like a hick, he went to the city, probably before world war two. I do not believe it serves either the truth, nor the human, to perpuate the country person as an ignoramous.
I don't agree with the attack upon higher education that occurs on this forum occasionally, especially from people who have never cleaned a gutter, harvested sugar beets by hand or rode a binder. It does not serve the country person.
Incidently a colledge education is a colledge education wether it came from a formal institution or from a book while milking the cows. It is the education that matters and not a d-- thing else.


Avagail    Posted 11-17-2003 at 13:48:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Oh man, I was born and raised on a farm, my parents were much older than most when they had me, and decided to move to the city when I was 14, they were getting too old to farm. I was so excited! to live in a neighborhood!! LOL! well, 2 years ago, decided when my own kids were teenagers, and the stuff that was now in neighborhoods, had me plum terrified, to move to the country! my kids still hate me for it, but I know I did them a great service, for the friends they had in the city, have become, thieves, murderes, drug addicts, and my kids have not yet.(knock on wood), thank the good lord! In the country it is such a different life, no one cares what kind of tennis shoes or coat you wear. I know bad things happen too in my little town pop.397. I am seeing more and more about meth.God help us. It just seems like in the country, there are a simpler set of rules, that all seem to follow. and parents are much more into seeing that their kids have respect. oh boy, I have written a book! thanks for letting me vent all! do you all agree?


Gary, Mt. Hermon, La    Posted 11-17-2003 at 13:29:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Who defines a country person?

The country person.

Location has nothing to do with it.

I've some people who live on beautiful fertile land and never come outside except to get in the car to leave. Then I've seen people in town who cut their grass with a weed eater because the majority of the yard is planted in garden.


mike    Posted 11-17-2003 at 07:52:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
This is all really interesting to me. Best of all are the comments from "older" people like those who were born in the 30s and 40s.

I think I can contribute a bit to this discussion with a few views that I haven't read yet.

Now, I am 35. I am educated with two degrees, and work in the city as a stockbroker. Yet, although I grew up in the suburbs, my family did have a farm that we cash cropped every year, and my father and I did all the work.

I always liked the lifestyle, and wanted to spend as much time as I could "on the farm".

After getting the degrees, married, and having a house in the suburbs, we sold it and bought a little place in the country where we live and farm part time. Still have the day job in the city.

Here is the important part. I see that among my generation, the attitude of those in the city towards those in the country is almost the opposite of what it had been. I don't know if it is true everywhere, but here in the upper midwest, many people my age in the city would give ANYTHING to be able to leave. Most CANNOT because of the high cost of land and housing.

They come out to visit me. They see all the space and how much fun we have with the dog running around free. They experience being close to nature, and then they go back to the city or their little track house on 1/4 acre in the suburbs, and THEY LONG TO COME BACK.

The main pont that I would like to make is that now being out in the country is something that is seen as desireable and valuable. My city friends are calling me all the time--hey, when can we come out and cut more wood? I really want to go plowing again--and so on.

It is a quality of life issue. It is an escape from the stresses of everyday life and a longing for a simpler existence.

Now, because of what I see I would like to suggest the following; These things are kind of cyclical in nature. There will be a migration to the cities, and eventually the pendulum swings the other way and people move back out.

DON'T EVER BE ASHAMED OF HAVING A COUNTRY BACKGROUND. There are a lot of younger people that look up to you because of it, and long for a chance to do the same thing. As I am sure you know---the grass is always greener....


KellyGa    Posted 11-17-2003 at 09:06:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mike, I think you hit the nail on the head, I feel the exact same way, and I am 35 also. :)


mike    Posted 11-17-2003 at 09:31:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Kelly,

Glad to hear that it occurs in Georgia as well. I see this being the case here with all types of people our age--educated and uneducated alike.

By the way, I have seen some of the pics you have posted here. I have to laugh--we also have a border collie. I will try to post a pic if I can figure out how.

Mike


mike    Posted 11-17-2003 at 07:47:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
This is all really interesting to me. Best of all are the comments from "older" people like those who were born in the 30s and 40s.

I think I can contribute a bit to this discussion with a few views that I haven't read yet.

Now, I am 35. I am educated with two degrees, and work in the city as a stockbroker. Yet, although I grew up in the suburbs, my family did have a farm that we cash cropped every year, and my father and I did all the work.

I always liked the lifestyle, and wanted to spend as much time as I could "on the farm".

After getting the degrees, married, and having a house in the suburbs, we sold it and bought a little place in the country where we live and farm part time. Still have the day job in the city.

Here is the important part. I see that among my generation, the attitude of those in the city towards those in the country is almost the opposite of what it had been. I don't know if it is true everywhere, but here in the upper midwest, many people my age in the city would give ANYTHING to be able to leave. Most CANNOT because of the high cost of land and housing.

They come out to visit me. They see all the space and how much fun we have with the dog running around free. They experience being close to nature, and then they go back to the city or their little track house on 1/4 acre in the suburbs, and THEY LONG TO COME BACK.

The main pont that I would like to make is that now being out in the country is something that is seen as desireable and valuable. My city friends are calling me all the time--hey, when can we come out and cut more wood? I really want to go plowing again--and so on.

It is a quality of life issue. It is an escape from the stresses of everyday life and a longing for a simpler existence.

Now, because of what I see I would like to suggest the following; These things are kind of cyclical in nature. There will be a migration to the cities, and eventually the pendulum swings the other way and people move back out.

DON'T EVER BE ASHAMED OF HAVING A COUNTRY BACKGROUND. There are a lot of younger people that look up to you because of it, and long for a chance to do the same thing. As I am sure you know---the grass is always greener....


KellyGa    Posted 11-17-2003 at 06:33:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Country is in your heart, it is a feeling, its a smell, it's an attitude. It's being close to nature. It's a love that is so strong at times it's overwhelming. I do love the country...


Indydirtfarmer    Posted 11-17-2003 at 06:00:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
An education is only as good as what you do with it. I know several friends, that went through college with me, that are working "No future" jobs, and don't care. They had the same opportunities as I did. They just didn't want to spend their lives in competition with the rest of us. It's their choice.
I have a sister, that has a Phd. and 2 "minor" degree's. She spent the better part of 16 years in college. I make more per year, at my "day job" than she does at her's. Is that the "standard" of success? I don't think so. To me, success is about being happy with your "lot in life".
With my wife and my son, I farm also. The highschool I went to, recently published a directory" that list's among other things, occupations. In the school's 55 year history, there are only 7 of us that list farming as our career. It's not the "grand and honorable career" that it once was. SO WHAT? I'm more than happy with my choice.
I had 4 years of army service, and 3-1/2 years of college. They made me a more rounded person, but they sure weren't the "crowning achievements" in my life. That was finding my wife, having my children, and now grandchildren, AND making myself the 5th generation to farm, in my family. I'm proud of my career, and could care less, if someone else doesn't think it's a wise choice. JMHO, John


Les...fortunate    Posted 11-17-2003 at 05:40:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
You better learn to laugh at yourself and let stuff roll off your back a little better or you'll spend the next 60 years of your life trying to get even with all the ones who think you're stupid and have made fun of you.


Over the hill    Posted 11-17-2003 at 06:09:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
It's not my intention to get even with anybody, I doubt very much that that I will survive another 60 years.(not that I wouldn't take it).
I find it overwhelming that I even exist at all, I could never be so irrelevant of God's intentions as to laugh at myself. That is a ploy of humans. I do have a sense of humor(more than average)and have never found it acceptable to laugh at anybody,including myself, only situations.
Laughing at people, strikes me as not having a sense of humor, but rather using humor to attack people. Comedians need such phylosophy, in order to make money.
I am semi-retired, 60 years old, and have very little desire to impress anybody. I do have seven grandchildren who must live in the world that I leave them. If I follow the family pattern I have about ten to fourteen years to live. I will then face the truth, you will not matter in that situation, only my actions. Fourteen years can seem long or short. It all depends on my actions.


bob ny    Posted 11-17-2003 at 05:30:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
i was born in 1933 on a dairy farm without electric or indoor plumbing.we used horses for everthing.after the service i ventured into city life and work ended up working for a power company for 33 years we purchased a farm in 1970.i retired in 1992. taxes and sprawel drove us to sell in 1999 we now live 20 miles from the old homestead. i have tasted the best of both worlds and come to the conclusion there are people that feel that there lives are the best for them i respect there feelings just as i expect them to respect mine. our own decision as to what life we live should be ours alone and there should not be classing of people because of where we live we are all country folks we belong to and are part of the greatest country in the world just ask anyone in our countrys uniform my 2 cents


Dave    Posted 11-17-2003 at 06:23:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'll go along with all that :)


bob    Posted 11-17-2003 at 05:05:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
A good friend who is dead once told me a college education proves only one thing You started something and finished it. So many people get a degree and don,t even work in that field. When I went to work in power plant a fellow employee told me just use common sense and you can figure out everything so true. Seems like that has fallen thro the cracks today


Battleborn    Posted 11-17-2003 at 08:08:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
What a crock, Bob! Ask your cardiologist if common sense taught him how to do his job. Trust your babies life to someone who learned the ropes through the "hard knocks" approach. Try to calculate the pillar size needed to hold up a bridge with "common sense", then drive across it. There is a need for everyone. Simple folk need the knowledge of the book smart, and educated folk need the instinct of the life-learner. One hand washes the other.
Paul.


Ron,Ar    Posted 11-17-2003 at 04:30:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have worked for a public school district for the past 11 years. I have come to the conclusion that they spend far more time and effort teaching to the tests instead of teaching the subject. High gades don't really mean the student knows the information (knowledge), just that he has scored high on the test. Too much effort goes into the "benchmark" tests also. These are test scores that determine how a school is rated in comparison to other schools in the state. I could go on and on but won't. One note. Our son is in 5th grade. He in in a group that started on a 5 yr plan in math. This year (last of the 5 year plan) he started advanced fractions. It was discovered that no one in the 5th grade could divide. They couldn't do fractions, decimals, or percent. The cause was found to be that the plan failed to teach multiplication in the third grade. You can't do division without being able to multiply. All 5th grade parents were called to a meeting and asked to help teach the kids their multiplacation tables as quick as possible because the benchmark tests were coming up and "we" don't want to look bad. How dumb is that?


Dave    Posted 11-17-2003 at 06:20:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sometimes common sense is as hard to come by as calluses on a politician's hand. I think mandatory tests are needed, but they shouldn't be the driving force of the school curriculum. They should be set up to test basic skills so that if a person is taught the basics they pass the tests.
Some of the math that my 10 year old, 5th grade daughter brings home is like some kind of strange puzzle that you have to figure out and sometimes they don't get solved even between me, my wife, a middle school girl with straight A's and a sophomore high school girl. I don't know what's on those tests, but if they're anything like that I couldn't pass one! Just for the record both my wife and I "do math" all day (sometimes) one of our businesses is detailing (drafting) structural steel.
I guess between everybody's "better idea" and people trying to push their social/political agendas trying to put together a comprehensive and valuable curriculum must be akin to herding cats…I sure wouldn’t want that job!



Over the hill    Posted 11-17-2003 at 05:43:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
You are saying that education is not being delivered, not that it is irrelavant.
In a situation like this I would start by examining the school board. Who are they, how did they get elected. Do THEY feel that education is secondary? Are they educated sufficiently to overcome class distinction, and really want the the student to recieve the benefits of thousands of generations or do they just need the social boost of being on the school board?
Did they get elected because they are nice in public, and are easy to be swayed by what serves that end. Are they just safe?
We Americans have always been willing to gamble when it seemed better than the alternative.
What is the situation here? Did we gamble and lose or do we now need to gamble because we can't live with the situation?


Dieselrider    Posted 11-17-2003 at 04:02:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't dissagree with most of what you say, education is important. The kind you got on the roof or the tractor or picking beets, you didn't get that in the classroom, nor will anyone. There are those that will and do benefit our society by obtaining a higher education, but there are many more who have waisted there money. I believe the problem starts with our public school system not doing their job in the first place. Not that our society hasn't hindered the really good teachers in the first place. That's why so many credits have to be wasted on remedial training once someone goes to college. Like basic math and english.
There are many people who have gone to college who couldn't do many of the things you have mentioned. There are people trying to run corporations, because someone was impressed with their Grade point average, within this country that could not run a small business if their life depended on it.
Education is important, but you cannot get common sense from a textbook, and a high IQ does not make you "smart". There are so many people who would be better off going to a trade school rather than a university.


Fawteen    Posted 11-17-2003 at 02:21:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was with ya right up to the last sentence:It is the education that matters and not a d-- thing else.

Education is important, no one disputes that. But I think character, ambition, persistence, honesty, a sense of responsibility and sound morals have as much (if not more) to do with success in any endeavor as education.

Not many of those wiseass overeducated politicians and lawyers and such would last long as a farmer. Ya can't "spin" a crop failure or the results of a poor decision in farming. Add the need to work 16 or 20 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week to that list you provided, and you'd weed out an awful lot of academically successful chairwarmers.

Me, I ain't got either the smarts or the guts to farm. I'll keep my nice simple day job.


Over the hill    Posted 11-17-2003 at 03:47:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
The point is that character is enhanced and made much more relevant with education. It does not matter how wonderful you are when you go in that voting booth, if you don't know who to vote for, your effect can hurt as much as the most evil person.
Good character is not the private domain of any group, either educated or not, but the people with good character who get educated can have much more effect than without one.
I put it that way in order to point out the importance of education, so as to eliminate all the irrelivant class associated with educated people. I have found that the majority of them do not feel in a superior class, but they do tend to fear the effects of well meaning uneducated people.


deadcarp    Posted 11-17-2003 at 02:14:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
yeah i grew up from rural 43 too - of a dozen cousins, only 1 had the gumption to keep farming. the rest of us cut & ran. and mostly came back now. none became aristocrats but one worked color guard for pres johnson. of the truck drivers, lumber workers, factory foremen and such, we'd probly have done as well staying here. but the excirement of the city and chance for easy money and shorter hours still drags kids off farms.

cousin harold farmed til last year when mastitis meds started costing him 75/week/affected cow, then he soon got tired of working for nothing and sold the herd. he'd banged out once in 45 years. we wondered often why farm milk was 11 cents/lb but $3/gallon on the shelf. i still liked the fresh stuff better but his was the last local herd. and you can't sell it from the roadside. that part's cruel to farmers. so here we are again, retired and picking up scrap jobs like the fall spud hauling, some with govt help, getting by. of our bunch who's country? we all are - still and again. seems like most city people are, at heart. they make the urban sprawl :)



Donna from Mo    Posted 11-17-2003 at 02:14:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, "WHO DEFINES A COUNTRY PERSON?"
© copyright November 17, 2003
Donna Wood

You can't define a person; it just simply can't be done,
We each are multifaceted, comparable to none.
To pigeonhole somebody is restricting and unfair:
Everyone has many traits, unique beyond compare.

Define a country person? He's a human, after all,
So, put him on a pedestal and he is bound to fall.
And if you try to put him down, it's likely he won't stay.
"Country" doesn't tell you how he made it to this day.

We all have human weaknesses, and many strong points too;
And where one lives does not define her total point of view.
Some folks have gone to college; oh, I surely wish I had,
But just because I didn't go, that doesn't mean I'm bad.

I see Christlike behaviour in agnostics every day,
While I'm ashamed of some who always go to church, and pray.
You cannot classify a man as one thing or another:
Just celebrate the differences, and see each one as brother!



Over the hill.    Posted 11-17-2003 at 04:03:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well said.


Wm. from NC    Posted 11-17-2003 at 02:30:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Very well said, Donna. I've lived in the city and the country, but I have always considered myself as a "country boy". I don't own a farm, but I do live in the country, and wouldn't move back to the city if they gave me the city. I have friends in the city and the country, but give me blue skies, trees, dirt roads,wild animals, and space.


mutt    Posted 11-17-2003 at 05:31:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
I grew up on the farm, never got much education, cause Pa wouldn't pay for me to go through fourth grade the third time, pulled me out of school and put me to work. since then I have gone through several schools, manily the one of hard knocks,(3times if I remember rite) then twice through the one named trip, stumble and fall. And then there is still the one where I'm the teacher and the student.. Everthing I learned has been by hands on, sometimes it was pa's hand, that done the teaching. Anyway I'm now closer to the far end on the centry than the beginning, don't farm for a living, but live on a what some people call a city ranch, 40 achers. I keep the wolf away from the door be working midnight shift at a power plant, then to support my habit, I do mechanic work in the day time. Wouldn't live in the city noway, nowhow, nope, notever, NO. I make a decent living and enjoy what I do, don't know that I would change anything if I had to do it over again.


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